Or rather the lack of it. Although Business hours are quite long punctuality is not vitally important in France, and turning up fifteen to twenty minutes late to work is almost acceptable. (Barsoux & Lawrence, 1997) suggest that the ritual of long working days are partly a knock on effect of the proceeding ritual of long lunch breaks. A recent survey in Le Monde (20/03/03) showed that half of the cadre population worked over 46 hours a week with over 26% working between 51 and 60 hours a week.If we compare this to a monochronic culture like Germany where they are said to work sequentially, they have shorter working hours, they keep appointments and appointments are required for everything. (Schuch, 2009) For a long time France was ruled by a socialist government. In 1982 a large part of the banking sector and industries of strategic importance to the state were nationalized under the new president Frani?? ois Mitterrand and the PS-led government. (Wiki 2009[online])) Many of those companies were privatized again after 1986 when Jacques Chirac came to power.
Although France was still serving under a socialist President, Mitterrand, Chirac became the right wing head of a right wing government. This saw a dismantling of supply side rigities (Gordon, 1996) and France experienced tax reductions, freedom in price settings and traditional French firms were allowed to pass into foreign ownership. (Barsoux & Lawrence, 1997) The EU, which France was instrumental in creating, has also helped it to reduce government intervention in economic affairs by privatizing several industries. In 1992, the Treaty of Maastricht was signed, which brought France into political and economic union.Below shows the effects of a new right wing government and the creation of a single European market on trade in France. The creation of the single European market, the shift to globalisation, increased Foreign direct investment , and cross border acquisitions means that businesses are now seeking to apply frameworks and standardisation on the slippery subject of culture(Holden, 2002).
The creation of the EU also brought with it the guarantee of freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital between members.Randlesome in his book ‘Business Cultures in Europe’ states from the onset that there is ‘no such thing as a single homogeneous European Business Culture’. Member states now total 27 and Europe now contains as many business cultures as it does countries. If French business culture is said to derive from its business climate (Gordon, 1996), then an analysis of its relationship between governments, financial institutions, economy and EU movements can be used along with frameworks to evaluate if this is true?The most common frameworks in international business literature are those usually written from a scientific or Universalist viewpoint. One well-known example of this way of analyzing human culture is that of the Dutch anthropologist, Geert Hofstede. His theories of cross-cultural communication in the 1970’s came about through interviews with international business persons in IBM (Hofstede, 2001). Based on a study of over 50 countries Hofstede was able to quantify what common problems he thought existed within societies.
These national cultures are described in appendix.Please refer to (appendix figure 2. ) Hofstede’s ‘culture 1’ and ‘culture 2’ theory see (appendix figure 3. ) is used to examine the correlation between his theory and the reality in France.
The Three levels of uniqueness in Human Mental programming (Hofstede, 2001) see (appendix figure 4. ) is a framework to categorise the indentified predominant characteristics of France. (Please see appendix Figure 5.
for this part of text) Analysis of Hofstede’s perception of French culture suggests that they are regimental in organisations. France is one of the countries here displaying a high power index.According to Hofstede this means there is an unwillingness of subordinates to disagree with superiors.
In France, the Hierarchy is a predominant feature in business culture. Its rigidity only allows a top down flow of communication. This further enforces Hofstede’s identification of France having a high power index. The level of education accords status and this intern accords salary. According to (Barsoux & Lawrence, 1997) the higher the league position of the university the higher the signing-on fee commanded by its graduates.The French are said to follow ‘classic principles of management’ (Barsoux & Lawrence, 1997). There is a distinction between thinkers and doers. The majority of Institutions in France do not designate their own leaders for the fear that this would give rise to ‘une hiirarchie paralli le’ which might undermine the so called ‘hii?? rarchie naturelle’.
(Barsoux & Lawrence, 1997) Hofstede’s framework (appendix figure 5. ) suggests the individualistic ethic in France is high. There is a lack of group collaboration, and the employee – employer relationship, further strengthen Hofstede’s analysis.It is said that everybody within a French organisation has an individual respect for authority. (Barsoux & Lawrence, 1997) It’s difficult to enforce Hofstede’s Masculinity notion and the justification of Frances score. The masculine characteristics such as assertiveness and competitiveness are apparent in French culture as well the so called feminine traits such as stress upon the quality of life.
The Grande icoles are founded on values attributed to both masculine and feminine notions. Caring, decisiveness, and camaraderie.Perhaps the French have managed to strike a balance here. They on one hand take family duties seriously (reflected in family run business) and on the other they are hard working at work (reflected in the long office hours). From the results it is clear that France having a high uncertainty avoidance score means they likes situations to be spelled out in order to limit surprises. This is clear when we see the heavy presence of rules and regulations within French corporations. The time orientation scores France as relatively low.
Meaning the living for the day value prevails over thrift and industriousness. In our previous identification of national culture most countries that display high uncertaincy avoidance index usually have a long term orientation see (appendix 5. ) But this is not the case with France.
However one must be critical of Hofstede’s cross cultural framework. It is important to resist the temptation of stereotyping, because these dimensions are not concrete descriptions of French people’s behaviour.They may predict actions of groups and nations but, perhaps useless in predicting the behaviour of individuals. Hofstede’s Five Dimensions has also been criticized on the grounds of being too static, (Holden, 2002) or being based on a weak theoretical foundation. (Dahl, 2004) Additional concerns of Hofstede’s studies are whether nation states can be seen as homogeneous cultural entities and whether someone from one culture can write objectively on another culture as mentioned in the reports limitations.